There's so many things around this old house that could stand improvement -way too numerous to talk about in just one post, I think. Of course, to do all the improvements we'd like to see done, either Mandy or I would certainly have to be really lucky and hit one of the Super Jackpots on the lottery, I'm sure.
We were discussing some of the features in the house earlier today and she mentioned about the old fireplace in the living room. I know this wasn't built as part of the house originally but was added on when the family expanded the downstairs -or redesigned the layout is probably a more accurate description. And I'm not sure what year they did that but it was sometime before the 1930s as near as I can ascertain from old photographs.
So the fireplace, although it's been here a long time, it's also something that has rarely been used too.
At some time after it was added to the house, one of my uncles discovered something about the way it was built that caused a lot of alarms to go off with my grandparents and the rest of the family. Seems the firebox to the fireplace is situated in such a manner that it rests on some of the house's main timbers! And the few times the fireplace had been used early on apparently the heat from those embers in the firebox charred those main timbers a bit.
So the fireplace in this place is pretty much just for show, definitely not for use!
I remember one time, about 1955 or 1956, when my Mom had to have new grates made for the coal furnace we had back then and of course, as luck would have it, while the new grates were being made, we got hit with a really nasty cold spell. This was in October of whichever year was involved and so, we had no heat at all in the house for a time. This kind of forced my Mom to take a chance and build a fire in the fireplace but she was one nervous nelly the whole time that fire was burning there.
It even set my Grandfather off on a tangent too.
At that time of his life, his mind was deteriorating as he had hardening of the arteries and his thought processes were far from what they used to be. So, when he realized there was a fire in the fireplace, he took off and went down the street to his brother's home where he announced to Uncle Erik and his daughters, Edith and Hedvig, that my Mom and Grandma were trying to burn the house down.
This kind of worried Uncle Erik initially cause you never knew exactly what stories Grandpa was telling and how much accuracy might be contained in them -if any. So to ease his mind, Uncle Erik made one of his daughters walk Grandpa back home and while here, figure out what was causing Grandpa to believe people were trying to burn the house down.
It did provide a little bit of laughter at the time but was also one of those humorous things that are tinged in sadness too as it makes a person see the wasting of the mind and how someone who once had been a very intelligent man was now a shell of his former mental self.
But anyway, Mandy was asking me about the mantlepiece over our fireplace -how old it is and such. I don't remember what year Mom and Grandma had this made as I can't think of any other events surrounding that to be able to tie in a date to it but I do remember my Mom mentioning when they brought it home that it was probably gonna be one of the most expensive decorative things in this old house then anyway.
At the time it was made, I doubt Mom and Grandma had a bunch of mantel designs to look at and choose from but I do know this one is made from solid oak and because I know I was in grade school when they got it, then it has to be probably around 55 years old, at least.
It's still as beautiful today though as it was back when they had it made but right now, it manages to serve as a bit of a "catch-all" for things that get put up there in a hurry to keep them handy to us but out of reach of little fingers that like to mess with things, ya know.
What it really needs now though is a nice table runner/dresser scarf item to put on top of it to keep it a little protected too. With all the embroidery projects I've done over the past two years, I've done very few things in that type of category so maybe, if ever I run out of tablecloths and tabletoppers or pillow cases to embroider, I can tackle some pretty item to dress up our beautiful mantle, can't I?